Interview: Doreen Taylor
When we first discovered Doreen Taylor and started to learn about her, we asked ourselves “Is there anything this girl can’t do?!” Then, after a bit more research and some one-on-one chats with Doreen, we received our answer: “NO!” While we would love to tell you that Doreen is a jack of all trades, we won’t go there (you will see why below!). Instead, we will introduce Doreen as a singer, songwriter, and actress with a magical musical past, an impressive academic background, and an incredibly bright future.
Without further ado, we present to you the amazing and talented Doreen Taylor!
For those readers who may be ‘meeting’ you for the first time in this blog, can you give us a little bit of a back story as to how you became a singer/songwriter?
Wow— how long do you have? Haha! Well, first off, to all those that have never met me, “HI!! Where have you been all this time?? HA!” All kidding aside, I have been in the industry awhile, but I am finally now starting to earn international recognition as a country singer and songwriter. People sometimes call it an “overnight success” and although it may appear that way to some, nothing could be further from the truth. I have been professionally performing since I was a child and I have even toured all around the country on several different occasions for several different production companies. My love of music has always been inside of me. I can’t really explain it, but it is a part of me. Like breathing or eating… it is something I need to do to survive. It was inevitable that my path would lead me here.
You have been compared to Shania, Faith, Jo Dee, and even Britney. How would you describe your musical style?
I am the epitome of the word, “eclectic”. Ever since I was a little girl, I have listened to as much music as I could no matter what the style or genre. I am a true lover of all music…not just a style. I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t gravitate towards certain types of music much more than others, but I really believe if you truly love music, you find a beauty or purpose in all of it. I guess that has really shaped me into the songwriter and artist I am today. You can listen to my entire “Magic” album from beginning to end and hear about 20 different musical styles and influences beyond country (like rock, pop, soul, gospel, classical and yes…even funk!) This isn’t just in the songwriting, but also in my vocals. I am so honored to be compared to these amazing superstars you mentioned, but honestly…I’m just me (good or bad). I write from my heart and I sing from my soul. You will always get honesty, truth and pure raw emotion. My music is never edited and never changed just to fit a certain demographic or to become more “commercial”. When someone listens to my music they are listening to my soul.
You are a jack of many trades — a Masters degree in Opera, a Broadway star — in what direction are you taking your career at this point?
Oh boy—isn’t the phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none?” I hope that’s not the case here! LOL. I totally know what you are saying. Everything I have done in my career up to this point (opera companies, nationally touring as “Christine” in ‘Phantom of the Opera’, “Mother” in ‘Ragtime’, performing my one-woman show in Las Vegas and Atlantic City) has really just been a continuation of my journey to prepare me and allow me to get to this point. Having a Masters degree in opera was invaluable to me. It allowed me to know my voice and be able to sing healthily. It allowed me to know my limitations vocally and gave me the flexibility to do things that maybe other singers can’t. Look at Adele. She has a beautiful instrument, but didn’t know the first thing about singing properly. She just sang because she could. Now she has vocal nodes and honestly will never really be the same again. That is a plague in the music industry- pushing singers before they are ready. I am lucky that I have that experience and knowledge to help make me a better singer and continue to survive night after night on the road performing. I wish more professionals in the business would encourage singers to have legitimate vocal lessons and training.
You grew up in a small town with a tight-knit family. How has your upbringing influenced your music?
I may be the abnormality in this world, but I can honestly say how blessed I am for the childhood that I had. My parents are such enormous role models to me- even to this day. They were both school teachers who worked so hard to provide a modest living for us. They instilled in me the meaning of good values, honesty, family and respecting others as well as yourself. They were strict, but fair, and always told me that as long as I tried my best, they were proud of me no matter what the outcome. That work-ethic and sense of values is still a huge part of who I am and how I exist in the music industry. I work hard and always try my best. Some people will like what I do- some people won’t, but that isn’t what it is all about. It is about staying true to yourself and always giving your best….win or lose. If you respect others, they will ultimately respect you back. The golden rule is to just be good to each other. At the end of the day- all we have is each other.
I am a big fan of philanthropic work. Tell us a bit about the work you have done with St. Judes and assisting our troops.
I am a big fan of philanthropic work as well. My philosophy has always been to pay it forward. I have been enormously blessed in my life so if I can pay that forward and help others with my blessings then I have done my job on this earth. I work so hard for many different charities. I have raised thousands of dollars for St. Judes through public and anonymous donations, but I have also performed or publicly endorsed so many other equally amazing organizations. I am going to be a guest celebrity performer at the “Stop CAID Now” Gala in Philadelphia on March2nd. I have performed at the Gala for the Big Brothers Big Sisters this past November and I am planning on doing it again this year. I released a book and album called ”Coming Home” which was a tribute to our troops and a large percentage of the profits went to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. I also hosted a celebrity red carpet gala releasing the book and bringing recognition to the cause. As of this week, we are talking to a very well known charity to team up with me on a very special upcoming project, but it is too soon to say anything. You will just have to stay tuned!!
Your debut album is entitled “Magic”, which you have described as your baby. What was the process like, creating an entire album from inception to completion?
It is EXACTLY like having a child! In this case it was like having 11 of them all at the same time! It is really hard to explain so the best way I could come up with to describe the process is like having a child. Writing to me is amazingly cathartic. I write from my heart so a lot of times it is something that has affected me in a deep way, a commentary of something that I have seen, or a jab at the social mores that go on day to day. It really depends on my mood and where I am coming from emotionally and mentally. I teamed up with a tremendously gifted musician and songwriter Joe Mass who took my melodies and lyrics, worked with me one and one and created ‘magic’- literally and figuratively. I joke that much like the Osmonds- I was a little bit country and he was a little bit rock and roll. Together it just meshed. I worked very closely with my engineers, Lou Durso and Justin Lombardi and together we delivered my babies. Now that my children are all grown, I have released them on the world and hope that I have done my job so that they can make it on their own. Each song has a special place in my heart and a different moment of my life. I love them all the same (even though I won’t admit I have a few favorites! Haha). Creating this album has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
What goes through an artist’s mind when he/she sees so much work finally come to life on a disc?
It is absolutely surreal. There are so many emotions that immediately flood you. There is the elation of seeing your hard work realized, but there is also a sense of sadness. When you create an album, for months (or even years) it is your entire life. You eat, sleep, dream and talk about nothing else. You work with people so closely in a studio for hours and hours and then POOF! It’s over. For a very small time, there is a sense of emptiness, but then you start looking towards all the amazing doors that can potentially open and it turns to excitement and anxiousness. I have to say that I went through all different kinds of emotions, but ultimately it is an amazing feeling of accomplishment! Wow! Dr. Phil could do a whole episode on this answer alone!
We love the title track “Music is My Magic” and the message you send through the lyrics. Tell us how music has shaped you into who you are today.
Wow! Thank you! I am so happy you like that song! The track was actually awarded the “2012 Suggested Artist of the Year Award” from the ‘Song of the Year Songwriting Competition’. We haven’t released it as a single as of yet, but it has been really well received- especially by the country music critics. “Music’s My Magic” is really one of the most biographical lyrics I wrote about my own life and journey to get where I am today. Ever since I was a little girl (almost before I can remember) I would sit down and just play an instrument. I didn’t know how I was doing it…I was just doing it. I started writing songs very early on and immediately music became a way for me to escape. It was almost like ‘magic’ where I could dive into another world where you could be anything you wanted to be and create anything you wanted to create. Every note was a potion- every melody was a spell. Music continued to get me through a lot of very hard times in my life. This journey has not been easy, but the one thing that always remained a constant was my music. I always say “Music is not what I do- it is who I am”. Nothing could be truer. Music isn’t a career or a hobby…it is in my blood. It is what propels me, motivates me and continually shapes me into who I have become. I don’t do this to be rich or famous… I do this because it is what I am meant to do. Calling the album “Magic” just seemed appropriate.
Have you started working on your next album? What can we expect to hear?
I am always writing. There are thousands of songs in my head waiting to get out. I have already sat down and started to pen a few new tunes, but the time isn’t right yet to get back into the studio. I have a huge tour coming up and am still enjoying the success of “Magic” right now. My third single “Judgment Day” was just released along with an incredible music video shot by Nayip Ramos in Los Angeles. Many new listeners are just hearing me for the first time through word of mouth, the media, live shows and social networking sites. I want to enjoy this feeling for a little bit longer before I start again, but I am sure that bug will bite me again soon and I will be back recording in no time. No matter what, I know whatever I put out there will always be the best I can do with a few twists and turns, but all the while being raw, honest and truthful.
You mentioned during our previous conversations that you are in the process of planning a tour. Can you give us any hints about what you have in store?
As much as I love singing and writing, nothing beats being on stage! I really enjoy recording in the studio, but being out there and just feeling the energy from the crowd and giving it back to them is incredible! There is no greater high! Yes! I am heading out this summer to select cities on my 2013 “Magic” tour. We aren’t ready to officially announce all the details yet, but I CAN say that it will be kicking off in Philadelphia on May 23rd at the World Cafe Live and I will be bringing some amazing special guests and musical talents to open. I am so excited to get out on the road again bringing my own “MAGIC” to the stage!
1. Singing or writing? Singing— but that’s a tough call. It’s like picking a favorite child
2. All-time favorite country song? Crazy by Patsy Cline- can’t ever go wrong with a classic!
3. Favorite Broadway show? Phantom of the Opera- it will probably always be my fave
4. Have you watched “Bunheads”? Sutton Foster is hysterical! Ok, do I live under a rock? I have no clue what that even is? Kinda sounds dirty….
5. Facebook or Twitter? I just posted that same question on Facebook today!! FACEBOOK all the way although I am just now getting into Twitter
Doreen just had a birthday on January 30th, so we decided to ask her some birthday-themed questions as well!
6. Favorite kind of birthday cake? Anything that’s edible! Big fan of buttercream frosting- I have been known to go to parties just for the cake
7. Big party or small celebration? Depends on what we’re celebrating but smaller is always better.
8. People singing to you in public – yea or nay? NO WAY! I get so embarrassed. I really am a very shy person deep down.
We would like to thank Doreen for taking the time to speak to us and share so much of herself with our readers. We look forward to working with you further in the near future!
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